Health and Condition
All animals look better (and feel better) when they are in good condition. One cannot accurately evaluate an animal that is not in robust health and/or is not feeling well.
Most animals entering the show ring have been body clipped, with their feet trimmed, cleaned and well presented. This presentation/process is part of Showmanship - the presentation of an animal showing its best.
However, condition is always important.
Animals should have fine, shiny, soft, haircoats, and should carry the proper amount of body fat, being neither too fat nor too thin. Dairy goats are supposed to look DAIRY, and may tend to look more boney, or ANGULAR, than a meat animal does. They may appear thin to the untrained eye, but quality animals will be putting their energy into making milk, not fat.
Animals not in the best condition: uncomfortable because of foot pain, parasites, or showing evidence of lack of proper nutrition, or too fat or too thin, will not carry themselves well or stand in the upright posture necessary to evaluate them properly.
The doe to the right is in terrible condition. Her coat is a mess, being rough, dry, and unkempt looking. Coat condition is a reflection of the health status of the animal. It is directly linked to General Appearance and Dairy Character, since a smooth, fine, silky coat with loose pliable skin underneath is a most desirable trait linked to both. Even if her coat was clipped off, one could still feel the dry, harsh, dandruffy skin underneath.
This doe was in the process of recovering from a life threatening episode of acute laminitis at the time these pictures were taken. She had been unable to stand, bear weight, or walk for 3 weeks prior.
Today she has made a full recovery...... and her condition is much improved.